A DEBUT novel from Northolt author Janice Hallett is one of 13 titles vying for this year’s Waterstones Book of the Year.

The Appeal, a whodunnit set in a sleepy town during a disastrous amateur dramatics society performance, was inspired by author Janice’s lifelong interest in am-dram.

She spent several years as a magazine editor, winning two awards for journalism.

The Appeal was a No.1 Times bestseller, the Sunday Times Crime Book of the Month and a Waterstones Thriller of the Month.

Her second novel, The Twyford Code, will be published by Viper in 2022.

She said: “To say I feel honoured The Appeal is on this shortlist would be a cliché and an understatement.

“It means the world to me that Waterstones has chosen to highlight a book that’s not only by a debut author, but also one that has an unusual, experimental structure.

“This demonstrates just how forward-thinking and fearless their booksellers are when it comes to championing new fiction.”